The Qwortarian clean up crew was a disheveled bunch. As far as risk went, it was high, higher than before the famine. But the pay, oh, that, was much, much higher than most jobs available during the rebuild.
It was enticing enough for Lugkorn to fill their entire team of thirty.
Lugkorn stood at a podium, their form tall, eye a little larger than most. Their eye stalk slowly moved back and forth, sweeping the crowd.
"Congratulations for passing all your training. We have been assigned to clean up ground zero. Make sure to suit up, especially your goggle!” Lugkorn pointed to the goggle they had hanging on the side of the podium.
Lugkorn pulled on the thick rubber suit. It was designed for standing on two legs, with four arms. The matching rubber gloves came in several varieties, including pincer claws, talons, hands with opposable thumbs, either three, four, or five fingers. Lugkorn preferred one pincer, and three hands of four fingers.
After strapping the glass goggle over their eye, Lugkorn checked their map. Quickly drawing a few grids, they assigned everyone to grids.
Lugkorn took a few to the section which contained the large tree and the area Timosh first released the virus. All the trees were either completely fallen, or split open. All the other plants were wiped out. The clean up crew walked through the sludge, holding bins, scrapers, shovels, and trowels.
Lugkorn paused in front of the fallen tree in the middle of their grid. The giant mound of mush was all that was left of the tree which once hid Timosh’s illegal experiment.
After pointing to the biggest collection of rotten plant life Lugkorn and their small group get started. Shovels out, dropping the infected material into the bins. Even working until darkness made it impossible Lugkorn’s crew, the whole crew, still had much to clean.
Lugkorn stood in their tent, waiting for their boss to answer the call.
“How’s it looking?”
“Better, but we’re going to need more time.”
“What do you mean more time? You led a team of ten to clean twice as much-”
“Experienced cleaners.” Lugkorn interrupted. “And not always in full protection gear. We get hot, we need more breaks, the trek back to uncontaminated ground in order to take a break is long.”
“I don’t care how what you promised.” Lugkorn waved their pincer claw hand. “We did not clean the whole area in one day. We’ll need at least another two.”
“And if the client doesn’t want to pay for two more days?”
“It’s the government. They’ll figure it out if they ever want this land usable again.” Lugkorn crossed their two sets of arms. “Just give me the approval to call my team back at dawn.”
“Fine.” Boss cut the connection. Lugkorn sent out a message to bring their team back the next day. It was going to be a long couple of days, Lugkorn was sure. Long, but worth so much money.
Word Count: 499